Sgt. Daniel Felix, right, and Spc. Wesley Downs, both infantrymen with Headquarters and Headquarters Company,” 1st Brigade Combat Team,” 1st Cavalry Division, review loading procedures of an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon during First Team Training on Thursday at Fort Hood.

Spc. Paige Behringer | U.S. Army

FORT HOOD — In the midst of preparing for another round of multinational training exercises overseas, soldiers of the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, took a Thursday to focus on professional development during “First Team Training,” a division initiative to reinforce and reserve time for the Army’s traditional “sergeant’s time training.”

Throughout Thursday morning, Ironhorse leaders trained soldiers on subjects ranging from basic soldier tasks like marksmanship to more specific job-related duties such as determining a stream’s velocity before crossing a gap.

“We have our junior leaders — this also includes junior officers — training soldiers down to the small-unit level with the intent of building their skill sets, but more importantly, building a little bit of camaraderie as well as a more confident, resilient soldier,” said Capt. Michael Falls, commander of the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters “Hammer” Company.

The afternoon hours were set aside for counseling sessions, ensuring individual soldiers had the opportunity for face-to-face time with leaders.

“We have this presupposition that counseling is always negative, but it also ensures that those junior leaders have the available time to recognize and reinforce those good things our soldiers are doing on a day-to-day basis,” Falls said.

Counseling soldiers is a means to assist and teach them what they need to improve while helping them understand their responsibilities and duties as soldiers, said Sgt. 1st Class Casey Brown, a fire support specialist with Hammer Company.

“If (you) don’t give someone a guideline and tell them specifically what it is they need to do, then they can’t improve,” Brown said. “If you tell them (when) they’re doing a good job, you’ve established trust (and) communication, and you’ve established a standard to which you expect your soldier to adhere.”

Brown said the benefit of counseling is the two-way conversation created between leader and subordinate, which can help create better leaders.

Between training and counseling, Falls said he believes the camaraderie between leaders and soldiers improves by setting this time aside each Thursday.

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